Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has no intention of stepping down or retiring. His chief rival, Binyamin Netanyahu, back from a brief trip to the States, wasted no time gearing up for the race. Netanyahu minced no words in TV and radio interviews. “Sharon is not fit to lead the Likud or the country,” he said. “Sharon created a precedent of rewarding terror and getting nothing in return. He is dividing the nation and turning its people into refugees.”
With the Prime Minister’s popularity in own Likud party slipping after completion of the withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria, there were rumors of forming a new party. Though his associates repeatedly denied such a plan, they’re now calling it a serious option, following Netanyahu’s outspoken criticism of the Prime Minister’s policies.